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Jan 20, 2015

Are Your Eating Habits Affecting Your Sleep?

Did you know that your daytime eating habits can make a huge difference in the quality of your nighttime sleep? There are four ways that your eating habits can affect your “sleep hygiene” both negatively and positively.

We’ve compiled helpful insights on the timing of meals, the amount you should eat as well as a list of foods that both help you sleep and foods you should avoid to secure a good night’s sleep.

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1. Eating and Drinking Hours Before Sleep

You might have known that as a rule of thumb you should not eat three hours before sleeping but do you know why?

Our digestive systems rest between 7pm and 5am as a part of our natural biorhythm and eating during this time reduces the effectiveness of digestion, which can lead to digestion problems.

Eating a large meal before bed will make your digestive organs work overtime and will require other parts of your body to be active in order to digest the food properly. People often believe that a large meal combined with alcohol consumption will aid sleep but this is not true.

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2. Drinking Caffeine and Alcohol 

Coffee contains caffeine, which is a nervous system stimulant and will keep you up at night if you drink it too close to bedtime. Avoiding caffeine four to six hours before bedtime will help ensure a better nights rest.

Alcohol consumption also results in poor sleep as well. While alcohol may make you fall asleep after, it reduces REM sleep in the long-term creating a more restless night. If you are lacking efficient sleep, try to stay away from alcoholic beverages up to three hours before bedtime.

3. Food that will Increase Sleep Quality

It is particularly important to watch what you consume in the hours leading up to bedtime. Some bedtime snacks will actually help promote sleep. The natural sedative, tryptophan, is an amino acid component that is a necessary ingredient for the body to make serotonin. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that makes us feel tired.

This list of food will help you get more efficient sleep:

  • Cherries
  • Milk
  • Oatmeal
  • Almonds
  • Jasmine Rice
  • Bananas
  • Turkey
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Hummus

4. Food that will keep you Tossing and Turning

Alternatively, there are foods that you should avoid before bedtime. Below is a list of food you should stay away from late at night:

  • Dark Chocolate
  • Chicken
  • Ice Cream
  • Spicy Foods
  • Processed or smoked meats
  • Aged Cheese

Try following these tips and experimenting with your diet if you have difficulties getting to sleep or you are consistently waking up not feeling refreshed.

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